Tuesday, 16 September 2014


We had booked to go into Maeshowe, also on the West Mainland, a complete Neolithic tomb.

Inside Maes Howe

This is a ticket-only experience so with eight others and we were taken to the tomb by our guide George from Sunderland.

Outside Maes Howe towards the coast 
The tomb is about 7 metres square and 7.5 meters high, is reached through a 10 meter passage through which one walks hunched up there are chambers leading off each of three walls.

This is another Orkadian treasure and was embellished by the Vikings in the 1100’s when they discovered it by accident and used it as a resting up place in bad weather. They left Runic inscriptions on the walls of stone, which were deftly translated in a Geordie lilt by George.

Skaill House - 'new build'
We parked and walked across Skara Brae again; a complex of stone built houses and connecting passages. A settlement that was occupied from 2500 BC until 2000 BC; it was wonderful to gaze down into these homes; about five out of a total of ten are clearly visible.

“New Build” was how Christopher (see Wednesday) described Skaill House situated across the fields from Skara Brae.

Skaill build in the 17C and home to the Lairds of these lands until recently. An enterprising heritage scheme ‘froze’ the house in a moment of time, the 1950’s? This allowed us and a part of Italians to wander round the dinning room, library, upstairs drawing room and bedrooms of this isolated house that looks out to sea. The set of some Evelyn Waugh novel came to mind with Basil Seal coming up for the weekend.  We looked at the all the tea services and domestic crockery out on display and decided it was time to return home for Tea.

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim